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Autumnal Grass

Why does autumn grass silage less well than grass harvested in spring?


As a rule, autumn grass ferments less well because the weather conditions in autumn are worse than in spring.

> the weather is wetter
> the dew periods are longer
> the days are shorter
> the grass has a higher protein content
> often the grass is dirty

In autumn the grass is usually relatively wet and has little opportunity to wilt after having been cut.

If grass is ensiled without a silage additive, there is a significantly higher risk of butyric acid fermentation and spoilage (see illustration), which does not produce the kind of forage you want to feed to your high-performing cows!


Mowing grass on the field

If the dry matter content is approximately 20%, the risk of butyric fermentation induced by Clostridia is very high. To ensure good fermentation, KOFASIL LIQUID or KOFASIL PLUS GRANULAR should be added to 'difficult to ferment' grass. Since wilting is hardly possible, the grass should be ensiled as fast as possible after cutting; if the grass is left out in the field, the losses may be severe. Practice has proven beyond a doubt: good 'wet silage' yields a higher quality than poor wilted silage and cows like eating it much more.

KOFASIL LIQUID and KOFASIL PLUS GRANULAR with DLG approval seal 1a control the fermentation process and reliably prevent butyric fermentation. When KOFASIL is used, the silage's energy content is considerably higher than that of silage where no silage additive has been used.

We recommend a dosing volume of 3 litres of KOFASIL LIQUID per ton of silaged crop. In practice the dosing equipment should be adjusted to 3.5 to 4 litres if conditions are as described above, to make sure that at least the recommended dose is administered.

Trials by the Riswick company in 1999 and 2000 confirmed the effect of using KOFASIL LIQUID. Whereas untreated control silages yielded average results of 5.3 (1999) and 5.5 MJ NEL / kg of dry matter, the energy content in the silages treated with KOFASIL LIQUID was considerably higher: 5.8 (1999) and 6.1 (2000) MJ NEL / kg of dry matter. In addition, the butyric acid content was considerably lower.

Riswick concluded "The use of DLG-approved chemical silage additive of mode of action 1a is recommended for silaging". (Source: "Herbstgras - weiden oder silieren?, [Autum grass - leave in the field or ensile?] H.Spiekers, LWK Bonn, 2001)

Special attention should be paid to keeping the harvested crop free from contamination since excessive sand and earth inclusion will lower the feed quality and increase the risk of butyric fermentation. You can find further advice on how to generate optimum silage in our "Ensiling tips".